5 Bay Area firms named 2009 Technology Pioneers

From Proteus Biomedical….Can’t remember if you took your medicine this morning? Don’t worry, the pill sent a reminder to your cell phone as it went down the hatch.

Proteus Biomedical envisions a future when drugs and medical devices do double duty. Beyond their core role as therapies, a drug capsule or pacemaker, could become a scout inside the body dispatching data back to patients and doctors.The company’s digestible microsensors, about the size of a grain of sand, are activated by the watery environment of the digestive tract.From there, the encrypted information is sent wirelessly to Proteus and compiled into an online chart that can be checked by patients and others they authorize, such as their doctors and relatives.

Aggregate information collected by the company, stripped of patient identities, could become a valuable data bank to track global drug use and to follow disease outbreaks, he said. The worldwide data points could be captured by Global Positioning System devices. Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said such medical tracking systems might jeopardize patient privacy. “It’s not that they’re necessarily going to create a privacy problem, but there are real risks that have to be fully assessed,” he said.

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